I bought this book on a whim. I felt a need to read something a bit gritty and shocking, and this stood out to me in the Buy One Get One Half Price section of Waterstones. Describing itself as a psychological thriller, The Passenger by Lisa Lutz is an attempt at a twisty, turny, Gone Girl-esque tale about a woman who has been forced to go on the run and frequently change her identity.
In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
This is a quote taken from the book’s blurb. It does its job of provoking questions and immediately intriguing the reader. Who did kill him? Why would people think it was you? etc etc.
The story begins with Tanya Dubois finding her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs. Instead of alerting the authorities, or reporting it in any way, she packs a bag and runs. We soon discover that Tanya Dubois is a fake identity and she is forced to find a new name and a new life. The story takes us through several different names and identities until we find out who she really is and why she is on the run.
This book is fast, fast, fast. I raced through it, unable to put it down, enjoying every minute of it. Once I had finished and looked back, however, I realised I was a little bit disappointed. Although a lot happens and it all seems very exciting at the time, there isn’t much of a twist. The main character (I’ll call her this to avoid confusion) spends most of her time sat in bars drinking whiskey and worrying about getting caught. I don’t think the narrative does a very good job of dealing out the reasons for her being on the run in small doses. There are a few hints, and you start to wonder, but then a chapter comes towards the end where it is just explained out of nowhere, simply because she’s a bit bored of being on the run.
I read another review that said something along the lines of ‘this is a 3 star book, but I had a 4 star time reading it’. I think that sums up my feelings pretty accurately. I really would recommend this book because I really enjoyed reading it. The different identities were well thought out and all interesting. There are some shockingly violent moments and moments of tension. However, overall it was mainly:
Change identity – Drink some whiskey – Oh dear, I think I’ve blown it – Find new identity – Repeat x4 – Get Bored – Go Home – Tell Truth – End
But please, ignore my negatives and go and read this book. Make up your own mind.
7/10 Something Missing